Leek + Pear + Chanterelle Toasts

I love rituals. When the week gets crazy, I can count on a few constants to keep my feet on the ground: exercise, packing a lunch, a phone call home, a big hug from Shaun when I walk in the door. Sunday rituals are the most important. For me, rituals are more than routine or repeated habits, they can be activities that help define our values and reestablish a connection to self, loved ones, and the planet at large.

When we started fostering rescue dogs back in June, we began dedicating Sunday mornings to a long walk from our house down to the harbor. It helped socialize the dogs, but looking back I think it helped us more than our animal friends. On the way I’d pick up a coffee, Shaun would get apple juice and a croissant (or two) at the local café near our house. By the time we reached the water, my coffee was the perfect temperature and the dogs were ready for a rest. We’d sit on the benches in the shade and watch the banana barges from Central America unload shipping crates onto naked big-rig trailers on the dock. Shaun let me express my abhorrence for the free-trade agreements and cheap labor that brought the bananas here in the first place, but we both knew I needed the barges to be faithful on Sundays. Walking to see them was an oddly cathartic process. There was no past, no future. Just the dogs, the coffee, and the bananas.

It’s been almost a month since we’ve had a quiet Sunday morning to walk to the harbor and I’ve found myself searching for something constant that can replace or substitute for those few certain, perfect, hours. Time slips like sand through my fingers, as of late. This weekend we traveled north to visit my parents where Shaun filmed a bit for my mom’s nonprofit, Wellness Within. Chilly walks, Jon Stewart re-runs, thoughtful conversation, and waking up in my old bedroom to the sound of rain falling on the skylight was ritual enough to keep me in step for a while.

After a day in transit, no one really wants to work that hard in the kitchen. These simple, luscious toasts are the “welcome back” we needed today. As much as I love kale, it really can’t say “I love you” like these can. (wink).

Leek, Pear, and Chanterelle Toasts

  • 4-6 thick slices country levain bread
  • 4-5 cups sliced leeks (whites + just a touch of green)
  • 1 comice pear, diced with skins on
  • 1 small cipollini onion, minced
  • 4-5 tbsp (good) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • goat cheese to spread
Turn on this playlist. Bring a saucepan pan with a few lugs of olive oil to  medium heat and add leeks, stirring to coat and wilt for 3-5 minutes. Add finely diced pears, stir in the white wine, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to very low. In a second, smaller pan, mix finely sliced chanterelles and the cipollini with another lug of olive oil. Put on heat, and let simmer and reduce for 5-10 minutes. Slice bread, and throw under the broiler of your oven for just a few minutes until the edges crisp up.
Smear some goat cheese on the toasts, then pile with the leek mixture, then top with chanterelles and juices. Don’t take yourself so seriously, eat with your hands and let it get messy on the plate. Enjoy.
  1. Heidi / foodiecrush

    Sunday rituals have been absent at our home of late. I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine of Sunday family dinners and dedicating more leisure time with my daughter and husband in time to enjoy the holidays. And this year they’re going to be stress free, because I’m the only one creating the stress for myself. Delicious looking recipe, pure comfort.


  2. Laura (the first mess)

    Love that you featured a playlist in the recipe instructions. Oh and the fact that my favourite mushroom of all time is in this recipe! I recently got my Sunday ritual time back and it’s made everything a bit brighter and more whole-seeming. Weekend at your parents sounds like it was lovely and restful :)


  3. Sarah

    I can relate to so much in this post. I’m still chuckling to myself, though, over how you described your reaction to the banana boats. Shaun and Ben must share a similar patient tolerance towards listening to their ladies rant about international issues :)
    Rituals are interesting, and an important part of my day, too. It’s such a wonderfully human thing—sort of an attempt to order the dis-ordered; to make sense out of everything by latching onto the small things. It’s good to appreciate that.


  4. Elizabeth

    I so relate to needing rituals, but not finding the time. My life has been an absolute whirlwind for about a year now, and I fear it’s the new normal. Thanks for the reminder that it’s important to take the time to be grounded and let it all go (even for a few moments). Oh, and the toasts look amazing! What a wonderful flavor grouping.


  5. LiztheChef

    Rituals are so comforting and definitely a major way I bind my anxiety over every-day stresses…Walks are my favorite.


  6. Cookie and Kate

    I’ve spent so many weekends travelling over the past couple of months that I’ve realized how much I need the structure that a few routines can provide. I like to take Cookie on a walk after work every day. I like to bake on Saturday afternoons. I like to eat breakfast with friends on Sunday, and read books. Thanks for sharing that playlist this morning; it was perfect while it rained. Lastly, great recipe. I love turning toast into a meal (plus I’ll take an open-faced sandwich over a regular one any day).


  7. Chez Suzanne / The Wimpy Vegetarian

    I don’t know if I love more: your photos, your recipes, or your writing! What I do know is I have started to look so forward to your postings. This time of year, I can feel my life being drawn to rituals, starting with Halloween. Probably because there are so many rituals around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chistmas/Hanukkah, and New Years that I grew up with and still enjoy. I’ve also added you to my blogroll so that folks that visit me will see the link to your site too.


  8. Laken

    Rituals are one of my most valued things, especially Sunday ones. Sadly, they seem to have fallen by the wayside over the past few months as we’ve been busier than ever – but I’m hoping to change that very soon.


  9. Amy

    Kelsey, I’ve been roaming around your blog and it looks fantastic. I’m loving your choice of recipes, and I’m looking forward to following your posts. :)


  10. Amy

    Kelsey, I’m so glad you stumbled on my blog–it’s been a great time looking through yours. :) Looks like you have a really good eye for recipes (and the photography of course looks fantastic). I’m looking forward to more of your posts.


  11. Lisa

    Hi Kelsey—I love your thoughts in this post—there is something so comforting in rituals. Also, something so sacred. I have these places I walk that just make me feel like I’m in exactly the right place at the right time—I imagine many people go to church to get that feeling.
    The recipe looks super, as usual!


  12. lauren@spicedplate

    Rituals are so grounding, aren’t they? My favorite ritual is baking when it snows. As a teacher, sometimes a good snow storm means a day off, where I treat myself to something warm and comforting, like gluten free granola or carrot bread. I look forward to these days — which we get a lot of here in Maine!

    Thanks for the playlist, too — I’ve been listening to it while cooking my lunch for later today. What a fantastic mix!


  13. Kathryn O

    I couldn’t agree more on the value of rituals in keeping us grounded — as small as some of those habits may be, they can be really rewarding too. And these little toasts look great!


  14. Kasey

    I love Sunday rituals. Strangely, they’re the thing I miss about home when I’m on a long vacation! We, too, have our rituals…and these toasts would be a welcome addition!


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  16. Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty

    could this BE anymore perfect?

    Not only am I gonna let these fall messily back to the plate as I scarf them but if a little bit falls on the front of my shirt (which let’s face it, it’s bound to), I won’t complain…


  17. Adrienne

    I too love my Sunday routines. And this dish sounds perfect, especially on a chilly Sunday. You’re right, this is much more comforting than kale :)


  18. J

    I agree, I love observing rituals. It takes only a contemplative state of mind to turn most chores into one, really. I find it grants me a sense of calm and focus.

    These toasts look so luscious and gorgeous through every step of the way. Simply beautiful.


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  20. Kimberley

    Yes! I love rituals too. Yours, with the dogs, coffee, the beach, sounds perfect. I hope you get that back soon. And I love these little toasts.


  21. Kimberley

    Yes! I love rituals too. Yours, with the dogs, the beach, the long walk, and coffee, sounds perfect. I hope you get that back soon. I am lost without a few evening walks weekly. And I love these little toasts.


  22. whitney

    wow, this looks incredible! i can almost taste it through my screen.


  23. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    I love weekend rituals too, especially when the day is cleared for cooking a special meal. This toast has a wonderful combination of all that is good with autumn.


  24. Emma @ Poires au Chocolat

    What a lovely post. There’s something so special about quiet sundays. Last week I felt I was coming down with something so I spent the day reading 3 novels in bed – felt so good to slow down and look at a printed page instead of a computer screen.

    I adore the fact that you have a playlist to go with the recipe – I was thinking about doing this literally 15 minutes ago.


  25. anne

    I love this post! I agree that rituals are essential and grounding. What a great seasonal recipe! I love anything on toast :).


  26. Shannon

    I just want to let you know how happy I am to have found your blog. Thank you.


  27. Lindsay Jewell

    This looks incredible! I’m in the process of changing my rituals. For the better, I hope. :)


  28. Jo

    This looks so delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.


  29. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    Growing up, I used to have so many rituals. Morning, afternoon and evening. Recently it seems like the only ritual I have is in the morning and it includes face wash, toner, two serums, moisturizer and eye cream. What happened?! My job and Kitchen Konfidence keep my busy with so many different projects. Perhaps that’s why I never find myself doing the same thing again and again. I think I’m going to work on this in 2012. Carving out some time for a ritual or two.

    PS. The toasts look delicious. I saw Chanterelles over at Costco for cheap. I hope they still have some in stock!


  30. Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty

    Holy hanna! We made these as part of our New Years Eve feast and they were phenomenal! I had to make some adjustments since not everything was available where I live but they were still gorgeous!

    I’m posting on it soon – I’ll link back of course to give props where props are due! XO!


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